Frequency of oil changes


#1

2009 Honda Fit with less than 18,000 miles. Though Honda claims we only need to change the oil every 10,000 miles or so, our dealership says that “if we plan to keep the car (forever I presume) we should change it every 3,000 miles” just like back in the old days. He said they don’t recommend that anymore because people might balk at the “cost to maintain their car” stats that independent companies put out. This seems kind of stupid, and obviously they’re interested in having me change my oil every 3,000 miles (at their dealership!), but is that really necessary or optimal or just a money grab? What’s the truth of the matter on this?!


#2

I like every 5,000 miles. But I cannot justify it technically, I’m just not comfortable with every 10,000 miles. Oil cannot be too fresh, only too old.


#3

When to change your oil is a function of both odometer mileage and elapsed time.
Someone who drives only for short distances in his/her local area over a period of six months will be subjecting his/her car to much worse conditions than someone who does mostly highway driving over the same period of time.

Most manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedules give examples of “severe service”–which requires that you change your oil on the basis of elapsed time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage. So–to a great degree, the correct answer to your question is based on the actual type of driving that the car is subjected to.

With that being said, I am in the same camp as Mountainbike. As he has said in the past, “oil is relatively cheap, and engines are very expensive”. Even though the factory maintenance schedule for my car specifies that I can change the oil “every 7,500 miles or 7.5 months, whichever comes first”, I tend to change it much sooner, simply because following my retirement, the car is used more for local driving, and less for highway drives.

My personal schedule is to change the oil every 4 months, which coincidentally almost always equals about 4k miles. This way, I don’t have to worry about the possibility of damaging oil sludge build-up in the engine. And, even if it is a bit of overkill, the extra cost is minimal over the 7 years or so that I tend to keep my cars.


#4

3000 miles might make sense for mostly short trips.
10,000 miles may be OK for mostly long highway drives.
I would go with something in between, like 5000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first.


#5

The oil change interval in a FIT is based on driving conditions the motor experiences based on computer inputs. It can be as little as 4000 miles in short trips/cold winter or as long as 10,000 miles if oil has an easy life. The oil life however has no clue if proper oil type was added nor if owner is keeping oil level near the proper level.


#6

The oil life monitor has been around for a long time. It has been peer reviewed in professional associations, and it is offered by more and more car companies on an increasing number of models. This means to me that it is a worthwhile tool that has probably millions of miles of data. California did a test in their motor pool and found that using the OLM did not harm their cars. We don’t burn oil in our 2003 Olds Silhouette even after 125,000 miles, and I change the oil when the oil life is less than 10%. That’s typically about 7500 miles.

I would avoid this dealer in the future unless you drive only short distances or in dusty or extreme temperature conditions (severe conditions). Your OLM should tell you to changer earlier if that is the case anyway. Find a good shop to change your oil by the book (er, OLM). This dealer only wants to pad his pocket, it seems. You won’t void your warranty if someone else does the work.


#7

If you wanted you could follow the 3K miles change interval they suggest, but do the changes yourself and the cost would probably be very little more than going to the dealer every 10K miles and them doing it. If you used synthetic oil and changed it yourself every 3K miles along with a new filter the cost for 10K miles would run approximately $100. If you used conventional oil and new filter every 3K miles the same 10K miles would cost approximately $50. doing the changes yourself. I personally do my own changes at 3-5K mile intervals except on my daily driver which I now only change every 10K miles because it’s old (1988 with 517K miles) and I have to top the oil off with a quart about every 1000 miles so it basically changes itself. My daily driver has probably averaged about 5K mile intervals over it’s lifetime and is still on the original engine with never being rebuilt and didn’t begin using any oil until it was at about 250K miles, when it started using a quart about every 3K miles and has progressed with age/miles. I’ve been using the 10K mile interval for about last 42K miles and the oil consumption has increased very little over this time, but it has increased. If you go longer intervals be sure you keep an eye on the oil level regularly so the level doesn’t get so low it causes irreversible damage to the engine. On a car this new with this low of mileage I’d opt for the shorter change interval, not exceeding 5K miles. I’ve always said “oil is cheaper than parts”.


#8

I have a 2010 Cobalt with an OLM (Oil Life Monitor). Based on the OLM the oil should be changed every 9-10k miles. I usually change the oil and filter every 4k, based on the OLM I decided to extend the change interval to 5k or about twice a year.

I think a lot more damage has been done by not checking the oil level between changes, rather than lengthening the interval between changes. Do yourself a favor, get into the habit of checking the oil level on a regular basis.

Ed B.


#9

In the old days (I am old enough to know) oil changes ever 3,000 miles as about as long as you would want to consider if you planed on keeping you are for another year.

Modern cars and oils are far different. For normal use, you can stick with the time/distance recommendation that the manufacturer (not the dealer) recommends. You really don’t need more than that and aren not likely to recover even the small cost of the additional oil changes.

 If doing oil changes more often than recommended in the owner's manual makes you feel good,  I would recommend doing more frequent oil changes.  The reduced worry is worth the small additional cost.  Don't Worry - Be Happy  (Bob Marley)

 BTW did you know that new oil acturally has been found to increase wear?   It is true, but that increased wear is so small and for such as small time that it is not material. 

Good luck, be happy

#10

Bobby McFerrin did “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.


#11

Bobby McFerrin’s popular recording was produced in 1988. However Bob Marley also had a popular recording of it in the early 70s. I remember listening to Bob Marley’s version more times than I can remember, (and still have the vinyl album).


#12

In general every 3K miles is a money grab. Honda motors are very low polluting and that means less soot and pollution in the oil. Every 10K miles is fine IF you do a lot of highway driving and rack up those 10K miles in about 6 months. Since many drivers don’t put on that many miles that quickly, every 10K or every 6 months whichever comes 1st works for me.

A good compromise for many drivers is every 5K miles for an oil change.


#13

“did you know that new oil acturally has been found to increase wear?”

I’m not convinced of that:

http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2248992


#14

Never considered, many drivers let their oil get one, two or even three quarts low before they get around to refilling the crankcase…When engines must survive on only two or three quarts of oil, that overworked oil breaks down and is contaminated very quickly, something OLM systems can’t detect…


#15

“did you know that new oil acturally has been found to increase wear?”

I’m not convinced of that:

I forget where I got that information, but it was from a source that I remember being careful. The amount of wear was very small and far too little to consider material for any normal car use. It was measured by testing for certain metals that were not in the original oil, but found in trace amounts in the used oil. I would not advice anyone to consider it a material issue.


#16

There’s now another good reason to change oil frequently. The new CAFE regs. I’ll be unable to afford a new car with the hybrid systems and high tech materials that manufacturers will have to use to meet the new standards, so I need to keep my current car forever. Fresh fluids and filters are a big part of the secret to doing so.


#17

"I’ll be unable to afford a new car with the hybrid systems and high tech materials that manufacturers will have to use to meet the new standards"
NEW car?? What’s that?? :slight_smile: The manufacturers have used that same scary line every time the CAFE issue came up in the past. I read recently where JD Powers recommended a new gas tax instead of CAFE standards. Thanks, but no thanks!


#18

"I’ll be unable to afford a new car with the hybrid systems and high tech materials that manufacturers will have to use to meet the new standards"
NEW car?? What’s that?? :slight_smile: The manufacturers have used that same scary line every time the CAFE issue came up in the past. I read recently where JD Powers recommended a new gas tax instead of CAFE standards. Thanks, but no thanks!


#19

D, I’m not talking about their claims. I’m talking about the fact that manufacturers will be unable to meet the new standards without using hybrid technology pretty much across the board, along with exotic weight-saving materials and dancier technology. Hybrids currently cost between $3,000 and $6,000 more than comparable non hybrids.

I won’t be able to swing the added up-front cost. So I’d better spend the extra money to do the extra oil changes, I’d better take extra good care of my current car. It’s that simple.

Statements by the manufacturers about the new standard are irrelevant.


#20

I just got a Honda Insight; first of all it was not that much more than a Civic, and I think that to hit the new CAFE standards, we will have Cars like the Elantra, that get 40mpg with a normal gas engine, you will just not be able to peel out the tires.

As for the dealer, they told me too, change the oil every 3,000 miles, same arguments about oild sludge wear…which I think is BS. First of all they gave be a coupon for a free oil change at 3,500… why not 3K…?.. also, the Insight has a “% oil left” indicator, and after 2200 miles, the oil is at 90% (yes I do mostly highway). I think that the “% oil left” indicator takes into account the stop-and go nature of your driving, and this was programed by the factory, not the dealer.

I am going with that.

N2L